India has seen the rise of three important political personalities, in the present decade, each representing the three major streams of political thought and politics in the country.
While Narendra Modi comes from the right of center political stream of BJP and RSS, Rahul Gandhi of Congress, from the political forces of the center, it may be said that Arvind Kejriwal represents the “Third Front” variety of politics, which can be loosely termed as left of center.
Modi rode on the wave of optimism and hope. He came with a clean image, talked of out-of-box-thinking, and spoke as if his ascendance to the throne of India will make the numerous problems facing our country, vanish in thin air!
With the stupendous victory of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi Election, just eight months after BJP formed the Modi led government, it does appear that the people have quickly become disenchanted with Modi. His government was seen doing too much talking and too little action.
However, within a month of AAP forming the government in Delhi under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party is virtually split down the middle, with stalwarts like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan on the verge of being thrown out of the party.
Congress, under the leadership of Rahul, seems to be sinking without a trace.
Of late, the phenomenon of sitting governments being defeated in elections has become all too common. This has been described by the intellectuals of the country as “anti-incumbency”.
Anti-incumbency can be defined as a phenomenon, common to democracies, where sitting governments generate antipathy towards themselves, as they are unable to fulfil the expectations of the people, on account of various factors.
The phenomenon of anti-incumbency is actually the accumulated dissatisfaction of the people, over a long period of time. As the people wait patiently for their problems to get solved, instead they find that the political leaders, elected by them are more focussed on their personal agendas, rather than the agenda of the society. This is when they start getting disillusioned, resulting in the society being engulfed by a sense of despondency, disillusionment and frustration.
In the last three decades, as India has seen the extraordinarily vast problems it faces, outstrip the solutions, being offered, it has also witnessed a growing sense of unease and disenchantment among the people.
In these last thirty years, the dissatisfaction among the people has led to a periodic emergence of new political experiments, as well as the appearance of new political faces, which seem to disappear as quickly as they arise. The Janata Party, Janata Dal, emergence of the Third Front and the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party, as well as the phenomenal rise of Modi can be ascribed to this factor.
Alas! Modi and Kejriwal also seem to be floundering!
What will happen to India now? Why are the politicians not able to grapple with the enormous problems facing the country, in a satisfactory manner? What is the problem? And where is the Problem?
Why is there a sense of perceptible unease and a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction among the people, against the government? Why is the institution of government, in India, not able to deliver?
It can certainly be argued by some, that a great deal of development has taken place in India, and that India is poised to become a major global power.
It may also be argued that people are always dissatisfied in a democracy, as their aspirations rise at a faster rate, as compared to the delivery of the government institutions.
One question, therefore, that may be of a profound significance in the Indian context is that how much development is ‘enough’ development? This is especially so in the context of the enormous size of the Indian population.
In this light, it may also be argued that the pace of development in India has not been enough, so as to be able to satisfy the people adequately.
The fact that the performance of politicians is not able to satisfy the people does not mean that politicians are ‘bad’ persons. It may be possible that owing to systemic defects, the politicians are unable to perform adequately, in a collective manner. In that sense, it may be said that the politicians are bad ‘collectively’.
The system of governance adopted by India’s founding fathers was expected to identify the challenges being faced, and find appropriate redressal. The fact that it has been unable to perform in a satisfactory manner is clear as daylight to everyone.
Perhaps, one may say that the system of governance that Indiaadoptedat the time of independence has not lived up to the expectations of people. That it has simply, not been able to cope up with the many challenges facing the country, or perhaps that it was simply not suitable for her needs and requirements.